Anderson, Valerie Anne; Ph.D.
Program of Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Defining the EdD and PhD in Education: A Delphi Study
Major Professor: Dr. Nathan Wood
This Policy Delphi explored how experts perceived the differences between the EdD and PhD in education and the surrounding issues. It also identified barriers to differentiation, a core knowledge base, and desired outcomes for the EdD and PhD degrees in education. The Policy Delphi was completed in three rounds. It used an instrument for the analysis of policy issues that sought information from a panel of experts in an effort to present all the issues and supporting evidence for consideration (Linstone & Turoff, 1975).
The areas where panelists agreed to disagree frequently, or had the most non-consensus items, were in the sections of philosophy, barriers, and additional comments. There was a higher level of agreement for the core knowledge base and the desired outcome sections as compared to the other sections. The core knowledge base section was the most similar of any section with a great deal of overlap between the EdD items and the PhD items. The results parallel the literature (Brown, 1990; Shulman, Golde, Bueschel, & Garabedian, 2006; Toma, 2002; Townsend, 2002) in that there are few actual differences between the content and coursework of the degrees.
Understanding the differences between EdD and PhD degrees is important because they impact not only policy and the decisions institutions make, but also students, society, and future stakeholders. This study makes a significant contribution to institutions as well as their development and continued assessment of doctoral programs in education. As a Policy Delphi, this study identified the critical areas for discussion by decision-makers.